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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:29 PM
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IIRC, the top issues for Trump voters in those Rust Belt states were economic too. HOWEVER...

Among the voters who were most opposed to immigration, racial diversity, and Muslims/"radical Islamic terrorism", Trump did indeed, win "bigly" - which was no shock, obviously.

That doesn't mean that a majority of Trump voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (for example) didn't cite the economy/jobs as their #1 issue (they did, IIRC). It just means that a smaller majority of Trump's voters cited it than that of Clinton's voters - again, because Trump won most or all of those voters who cited those white identity politics grievances as their #1 issues. But those voters were a minority* In other words: Trump won overwhelmingly among what appears to have been a minority of his voters (and an even smaller minority of voters overall).

*All we have to go on for all of this is exit polls, so I'm sure that there were "shy racists" among Trump voters who cited the economy -
but that's impossible to quantify, isn't it? And a lot of Trump voters had both economic AND racist/white identity politics reasons for voting for him, so it's not as if these things are mutually exclusive...*

Your points are well taken.

I definitely do agree we had the better platform. The problem, as you said, was communicating it - or getting it communicated to more voters.

Yes, the tabloid trash media who gave Trump billions of dollars in free coverage should be fucking ashamed of themselves, at the very least.

I do, yes, but "economic anxiety" in the USA is by no means limited to the poor.

Or have we all forgotten how many articles and topics in recent years - many of which have been posted here with hundreds of recs per thread - have described the hollowing out of the American working and middle classes (of all races - yes, it is true that racial and ethnic minorities have been hit even harder, but that doesn't negate the severe economic troubles that have been experienced across the board for a significant majority of Americans in recent years/decades).

I don't see how what you said really negates my point, sorry.

So give them a simple, compelling reason to vote FOR Clinton (or anyone else - including Sanders)

Rather than AGAINST Trump, or any other Republican.

The decisive voters in this election - the tiny number of "decide-at-the-last-minute" voters in a small number of critical swing states - were people who disliked Trump, but disliked Clinton MORE. And she bled a lot to third-party voters, and was adversely affected by low turnout as well (and yes, voter suppression, Russian disinfo, the Comey letter, and such all played big roles in their own right. I'm not discounting that).

The simple truth is that we had two historically unpopular major party nominees with basically universal name recognition, and so voters in both parties were more compelled to vote AGAINST the other party's nominee than FOR their own party's nominee. Negative partisanship, however, tends to benefit Republicans - because they are much more likely to "hold their noses" (read: fall in line) for any asshole as long as they have an "R" next to their name, because the alternative is a Democrat (the horror!). And low turnout, misinformation and disinformation, and voter suppression tactics all hurt the Democrats much more than they hurt the Republicans (in fact, they help the Republicans).

What do we stand FOR? I'm serious. This is not a rhetorical question. It's not enough to be The Resistance or The Opposition. We need to drive up turnout among our own base, register a lot more voters, and organize politically - starting from the ground up. The clock is ticking; they're be no mercy shown for us from the neo-fascist Republican Right under Trump and those who will continue his sordid style of politics long after he's gone.

They said the same thing about Clinton.

Bill, that is - in 1992.

Fortunately, his campaign retorted (correctly) that "It's the economy, stupid!" and he won not just one, but two terms.

Bernie Sanders is a valuable ally to the Democratic Party.

I welcome his participation in our Big Tent Party.

The Democrats have a working class problem - and it's by no means confined to working class whites.

EDIT: I mean this sincerely as constructive criticism. The election results were clear on this one. We need to do better, regardless of what "better" looks like for you.

A new study suggests that Democrats can re-energize African-American voters even if President Barack Obama isn’t on the party’s ticket. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

The study, conducted by AFL-CIO affiliate Working America, analyzed why the black turnout in Ohio plummeted between 2012 and 2016, when election participation among African-American adults slipped from 72 percent to 62 percent. The drop — not just in Ohio but nationwide — was partially responsible for Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Donald Trump, especially in upper Midwest battlegrounds, such as Wisconsin and Michigan.

"If black voter turnout remains depressed in 2018, it will doom Democrats’ chances in Ohio’s upcoming elections for the U.S. Senate, governor and state legislature," the study said.

the study showed that only 8 percent of African-Americans interviewed in the state thought Obama’s absence explained the lack of enthusiasm; 46 percent blamed a dislike of both Clinton and Trump.

But reinvigorating this voter bloc first requires Democrats to shake its deep economic pessimism. Nearly half of black voters said they were somewhat or very concerned about their personal economic future, while just 33 percent said they were somewhat or very confident about it.

The outlook is even more dire when asked about the broader black community: 60 percent of respondents said they were worried about its economic future. Just 22 percent said they were confident.

"The conversations we had with working-class African-American voters in central Ohio are a wake-up call for Democrats," the study said. "Nearly a decade after the 2008 recession, many black voters say they’re still struggling economically."

More alarmingly for Democrats is nearly half of these voters, 48 percent, said it didn’t make a difference to their economic well-being if a Republican or Democrat was in office.

In its recommendations, the study highlighted what it said was the need for a bold economic agenda.

"Progressive politicians can distinguish themselves by fighting for a bold economic agenda that honestly addresses the deep anxieties of working-class voters of all races. Incremental solutions focused on narrow segments of the population are not compelling to workers worried about losing their jobs at any moment and experiencing community level distress," it said. "We must fight harder to win economic security for all working-class Americans."


Interesting article...sheds some light on some things that I find quite depressing and disturbing.

"The slave South was a *slave society*, not just a society with slaves."

Slavery was at the foundation of economic and social relations, and slave-ownership was aspirational—a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Whites who couldn’t afford slaves wanted them in the same way that, today, most Americans want to own a home.


Feel free to share, crosspost, etc.

Publics voice rarely heard in stories about Trump administration (Pew Research).

. Just 5% of the more than 3,000 news stories studied during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency cited a member of the public, one of nine source types analyzed.

That figure compares with about three-quarters of stories that cited Trump or a member of his administration, 35% that cited another news outlet or journalist, 26% that cited a Republican member of Congress and 21% that cited a Democratic member. Stories that cited a member of the public also are less common than those that cite an expert or an interest group.


20 of America's top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They're scared. (Vox)

If current trends continue for another 20 or 30 years, democracy will be toast.

Is American democracy in decline? Should we be worried?

On October 6, some of America’s top political scientists gathered at Yale University to answer these questions. And nearly everyone agreed: American democracy is eroding on multiple fronts — socially, culturally, and economically.

The scholars pointed to breakdowns in social cohesion (meaning citizens are more fragmented than ever), the rise of tribalism, the erosion of democratic norms such as a commitment to rule of law, and a loss of faith in the electoral and economic systems as clear signs of democratic erosion.

Adam Przeworski, a democratic theorist at New York University, suggested that democratic erosion in America begins with a breakdown in what he calls the “class compromise.” His point is that democracies thrive so long as people believe they can improve their lot in life. This basic belief has been “an essential ingredient of Western civilization during the past 200 years,” he said.

But fewer and fewer Americans believe this is true. Due to wage stagnation, growing inequalities, automation, and a shrinking labor market, millions of Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future: 64 percent of people in Europe believe their children will be worse off than they were; the number is 60 percent in America.

That pessimism is grounded in economic reality. In 1970, 90 percent of 30-year-olds in America were better off than their parents at the same age. In 2010, only 50 percent were. Numbers like this cause people to lose faith in the system. What you get is a spike in extremism and a retreat from the political center. That leads to declines in voter turnout and, consequently, more opportunities for fringe parties and candidates.

Political polarization is an obvious problem, but researchers like Przeworski suggest something more profound is going on. Political theorists like to talk about the “social compact,” which is basically an implicit agreement among members of society to participate in a system that benefits everyone.

Well, that only works if the system actually delivers on its promises. If it fails to do so, if it leads enough people to conclude that the alternative is less scary than the status quo, the system will implode from within.

Is that happening here? Neither Przeworski nor anyone else went quite that far. But we know there’s a growing disconnect between productivity (how hard people work) and compensation (how much they’re paid for that work). At the same time, we’ve seen a spike in racial animus, particularly on the right. It seems likely there’s a connection here.

Przeworski believes that American democracy isn’t collapsing so much as deteriorating. “Our divisions are not merely political but have deep roots in society,” he argues. The system has become too rigged and too unfair, and most people have no real faith in it.

Where does that leave us? Nowhere good, Przeworski says. The best he could say is that “our current crisis will continue for the foreseeable future.”

...many Americans are open to “alternatives” to democracy. In 1995, for example, one in 16 Americans supported Army rule; in 2014, that number increased to one in six. According to another survey cited at the conference, 18 percent of Americans think a military-led government is a “fairly good” idea.

But there’s more.

Ziblatt identified what he calls two “master norms.” The first is mutual toleration — whether we “accept the basic legitimacy of our opponents.” The second is institutional forbearance — whether politicians responsibly wield the power of the institutions they’re elected to control.

As for mutual toleration, America is failing abysmally (more on this below). We’re hardly better on the institutional forbearance front.

Most obviously, there’s Donald Trump, who has dispensed with one democratic norm after another. He’s fired an FBI director in order to undercut an investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Moscow; staffed his White House with family members; regularly attacked the free press; and refused to divest himself of his business interests.

The Republican Party, with few exceptions, has tolerated these violations in the hope that they might advance their agenda. But it’s about a lot more than Republicans capitulating to Trump.

Ziblatt points to the GOP’s unprecedented blocking of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, in 2016 as an example of institutional recklessness. In 2013, Senate Democrats took a similarly dramatic step by eliminating filibusters for most presidential nominations. That same year, House Republicans endangered the nation’s credit rating and shut down the government over Obamacare.

There are countless other encroachments one could cite, but the point is clear enough: American democracy is increasingly less anchored by norms and traditions — and history suggests that’s a sign of democratic decay.

In 1960, 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats objected to the idea of their children marrying across political lines. In 2010, those numbers jumped to 46 percent and 33 percent respectively. Divides like this are eating away at the American social fabric.

A 2014 Pew Research Center study reached a similar conclusion: "In both political parties, most of those who view the other party very unfavorably say that the other side's policies 'are so misguided that they threaten the nation's well-being,'" Pew reports. "Overall, 36% of Republicans and Republican leaners say that Democratic policies threaten the nation, while 27% of Democrats and Democratic leaners view GOP policies in equally stark terms."

So it’s not merely that we disagree about issues; it’s that we believe the other side is a grievous threat to the republic. According to Pew, the numbers above have more than doubled since 1994.

Kuran warns that autocrats tend to exploit these divisions by pushing “policies that may seem responsive to grievances but are ultimately counterproductive.” Think of Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” or his insistence on building a giant wall on the southern border. Neither of these policies is likely to make a significant difference in the lives of Trump’s voters, but that’s not really the point.

By pandering to fears and resentments, Trump both deepens the prejudices and satisfies his base.

Timothy Snyder, a Yale historian and author of the book On Tyranny, gave one of the more fascinating talks of the conference.

Strangely enough, Snyder talked about time as a kind of political construct. (I know that sounds weird, but bear with me.) His thesis was that you can tell a lot about the health of a democracy based on how its leaders — and citizens — orient themselves in time.

Take Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. The slogan itself invokes a nostalgia for a bygone era that Trump voters believe was better than today and better than their imagined future. By speaking in this way, Snyder says, Trump is rejecting conventional politics in a subtle but significant way.

Why, after all, do we strive for better policies today? Presumably it’s so that our lives can be improved tomorrow. But Trump reverses this. He anchors his discourse to a mythological past, so that voters are thinking less about the future and more about what they think they lost. (emphasis mine - YoungDemCA)

“Trump isn’t after success — he’s after failure,” Snyder argued. By that, he means that Trump isn’t after what we’d typically consider success — passing good legislation that improves the lives of voters. Instead, Trump has defined the problems in such a way that they can’t be solved. We can’t be young again. We can’t go backward in time. We can’t relive some lost golden age. So these voters are condemned to perpetual disappointment.

Back in June, I interviewed political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, authors of Democracy for Realists. They had a sobering thesis about democracy in America: Most people pay little attention to politics; when they vote, if they vote at all, they do so irrationally and for contradictory reasons.

One of the recurring themes of this conference was that Americans are becoming less committed to liberal democratic norms. But were they ever really committed to those norms? I’m not so sure. If Achen and Bartels are to be believed, most voters don’t hold fixed principles. They have vague feelings about undefined issues, and they surrender their votes on mostly tribal grounds.

So I look at the declining faith in democratic norms and think: Most people probably never cared about abstract principles like freedom of the press or the rule of law. (We stopped teaching civics to our children long ago.) But they more or less affirmed those principles as long as they felt invested in American life.

But for all the reasons discussed above, people have gradually disengaged from the status quo. Something has cracked. Citizens have lost faith in the system. The social compact is broken. So now we’re left to stew in our racial and cultural resentments, which paved the way for a demagogue like Trump.


(Sorry for the lengthy excerpts, but there was too much there for me to not leave out...)
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